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The Nigeria Higher Education Foundation (NHEF) honored Teresa H. Clarke with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Nigeria Higher Education Foundation(NHEF), a non-profit foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of higher education within Nigeria, is presenting the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Teresa H. Clarke, C.E.O. of This prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at the 2017 NHEF Benefit Gala & Awards Ceremony on September 20, 2017 at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. The NHEF commemorates the efforts of trailblazers who have contributed to the country’s prosperity both at home and abroad. In recognizing these outstanding achievements NHEF hopes to inspire and motivate the next generation of Nigerian leaders.

Teresa Clarke, an investment banker and internet entrepreneur, has been contributing to business and social development in Africa for over twenty years. Ms. Clarke was the first African American woman to serve as a Managing Director in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs, where she led corporate finance and merger & acquisition deals for corporate clients in the industrials and real estate sectors for over a dozen years.

She is now the Chairman & CEO of, a leading media holding company that gives global brands access to Africa’s 15 million affluent online audience through its partnership with over 40 of the continent’s leading business publications, including the site at She also serves on two public company boards in the financial services space, one in Australia and one in Mauritius.

Ms. Clarke captured much of her perspective on being an African American who has spent her life working in Africa in a TED talk, “Bridging the Diaspora Divide,” an inspirational piece on how members of the African diaspora are stronger when united.

Ms. Clarke’s vast experience in Africa includes extensive service to Nigeria. She worked with the Ford Foundation to train Nigerian bankers on how to make job creating equity investments in small businesses in Nigeria, and developed a training program, Venture Capital Investing for Nigerians. She served as a strategic advisor to the Nigerian Leadership Initiative, developed in partnership with the Aspen Institute to train Nigeria’s public and private sector senior managers in ethical leadership and influence. Ms. Clarke was a founding board member to the Tony Elumelu Foundation, supporting entrepreneurship in Nigeria and Africa. Ms. Clarke delivered the keynote address to the Lagos Business School Alumni. She was honored by the International Women’s Society of Nigeria as Humanitarian of the Year for her work in education throughout Africa. She serves on the board of advisors for the Rhodes Scholarship of West Africa, and quite importantly, she has been actively involved with the Nigerian Higher Education Foundation for many years.

Ms Clarke’s other work in education across the continent includes her role as founder and board chair of the Student Sponsorship Programme of South Africa, which has been in operation for over seventeen years and has awarded over 1,500 South African high school students with scholarships valued at over $15 million. The organization opens the doors of South Africa’s elite private schools to academically gifted, but poor, black South Africans. She has earned two awards from the South African government for her contributions to that country in the field of education.

Ms. Clarke served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. In addition, she has lectured on this topic at several major universities around the world including Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Princeton, Wellesley, Tufts, Oxford, Wits and Lagos Business School.

Ms. Clarke wrote, produced and directed a documentary, “Africa Straight Up,” which explores current developments in the business and technology sectors in Africa. The film, originally produced for digital distribution, inspired a strong offline following and was screened on television in the US, the UK, and over 50 countries in Africa. It earned documentary of the month by AFTV in the Netherlands, was shown at the Council on Foreign Relations, and contracted as in flight entertainment by South African Airlines.

Ms. Clarke earned an A.B. in Economics, cum laude, from Harvard College, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

She has earned numerous awards for her business and philanthropic work in Africa, was named one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Business, and was presented with the “Shot Caller” award on BET’s internationally televised show, Black Girls Rock.


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